The doors to the first class of students at Rapha Secondary School opened nine years ago. I remember those students. I remember the temporary structure where they learned and the makeshift science lab they used. Many of the teachers were just out of school themselves and the administrators learned quickly that operating a school in Kenya would not be a simple venture.
Rapha Community Center was still young. The infrastructure consisted of temporary and incomplete buildings. Access to clean water was still just a dream. It would have been easier to send the children to an established school, but even that wasn’t an option. Students from the closest village were walking over an hour a day to get to the nearest secondary school. Only a handful of those students could afford the luxury of transportation. Most students in the village were too discouraged by the distance. They stopped attending school altogether.
As we thought about the future of our own children, we also thought about all those children without options. There was an opportunity in this situation to positively impact the community beyond our own gates and I am so grateful we rose to the challenge. Since we opened our doors, 195 students have completed their secondary school education at Rapha.
For many of these students, reaching this milestone was almost unimaginable. They are orphans, abused and vulnerable children who at young ages were forced to learn the act of survival before they learned the ABC’s. They had every reason to give-up, to accept a future riddled with struggle and poverty, but learning at Rapha Secondary School gave these students the opportunity to change the course of their lives.
Many have gone on to college and university, others have continued their education at technical schools. They are working, raising families and impacting their communities positively. They are creating a ripple effect of change that is vital to the future of our entire global community.
Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I see evidence of this statement in every student that enters the gates of Rapha Secondary School. I’ve witnessed how access to education can change a life in such profound ways and that is why I remain so committed to the development of this community.
Your generous donation this year will allow us to staff our school with experienced teachers and purchase books, supplies and resources that enhance the educational experience we offer. Your donation will make it possible to welcome all students to our school regardless of their ability to pay school fees. Your donation will ensure that every student at Rapha Secondary School will receive the quality education they deserve.
Please give as generously as you are able and know that your gift is an important current in the ripple effect of change taking place in the lives of every child at Rapha.
Jennifer Musick Wright
Founder & Executive Director
Prefer to donate by check?
Mail checks made payable to HEAL to PO Box 452, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
When Esther was in 8th grade, her father was in a terrible accident. He was unable to walk and stayed in the hospital for over two years. Esther’s mother was forced to choose between paying hospital bills and paying school fees. They were hopeless until Esther joined our school. At Rapha Secondary School, she had a safe place to learn without the financial burden of school fee payments. Esther excelled and has continued her education to this day. She is currently in university pursuing a Bachelor in Sustainable Tourism and Hospitality Management.
Samuel Kinuya lived with his grandmother for most of his life. She struggled to keep up with his school fees, working odd jobs when she could. She was always behind on payments, which meant Samuel was sent home until she could pay. This cycle continued until she couldn’t keep up any longer. He was forced from his prior school for good, but then he received the opportunity to finish his education at Rapha Secondary School. It was during his time at Rapha, through the very first How to Draw a Lion art class, that Samuel’s talent for art was discovered. Now 5 years later, Samuel is the director of Kenyan Operations for How to Draw a Lion. He not only teaches art to students at Rapha, but he is teaching at schools and children’s homes throughout eastern Africa.